Hundreds Turn Out For Remembrance Day

November 12, 2018

The commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War ended last night [Nov 11] with a ‘Beacon of Hope’ lit at Government House.

Governor John Rankin, members of the public and guests, including Heiko Schwartz, head of the political department at the German Consulate in New York, watched as the fire was lit in the grounds by soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

Mr Rankin told the crowds that “however dark the hour, there is always hope”.

He added: “It is for that reason I’m particularly grateful to all the young people who have come to participate in this evening’s event. You are the future of Bermuda, the future of the world and we are honoured by your presence.”

Mr Rankin added the beacon was “a light of hope” and that “we should rededicate ourselves to keeping that light alive”.

Photos from the Beacon Lighting


Mr Schwartz said he was honoured to accept the invitation to visit Bermuda for Remembrance Day. He added: “For us, it was a strong signal of our friendship – we have been enemies before and now we have become friends and close allies.

“That is why this evening is so moving and I’m very honoured and glad to be here today.”

The beacon was one of many lit around the UK, the Commonwealth and in the Overseas Territories to mark the anniversary.

As soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment lit the beacon, an RBR bugler played the Last Post and a piper played the Flowers of the Forest – the traditional lament of Scottish Highland regiments for the fallen.

The beacon ceremony came only hours after a crowd of hundreds turned out for a Remembrance Day parade designed to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Veterans of other conflicts lined up alongside soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment and other uniformed services to commemorate the Armistice, which came into effect on 11am on November 11, 1918, with two minutes’ silence.

Canadian visitor Janet Jeffery, who attended the parade with husband Nick, said Bermuda had put on a parade to be proud of.

Beacon Lighting At Government House

Ms Jeffery added: “I’m not surprised – it was what I expected, but I was very much impressed. Everybody was immaculate.”

Veterans of the services and other conflicts lined up alongside their modern counterparts for the parade and wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph on Front Street.

And the former warriors got the biggest round of applause as they marched off from outside Cabinet Office at the end of the commemoration.

But not all the RBR soldiers were on parade – its chefs had put in two days of hard work to prepare a lunch to honour Bermuda’s former military at No. 6 Shed.

Sergeant John Lema, an eight-year veteran of the RBR and also a chef in civilian life, said his soldiers had started work at 5.30am to make sure the lunch went with military precision.

But Sgt Lema, 37, from Devonshire, added: “We enjoy it. It’s always great to give back to the community and honour our fellow servicemen and women.”

Governor John Rankin, who led the wreath-laying, said afterwards: “It was a very good service. This year is a special one because it’s the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

Wreath Laying at the War Memorial on Cabinet Grounds

“Today has been a day to mark that Armistice and to recognise all of Bermuda’s veterans, both those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who survived.

“All of them played a part in helping us to have the peace and freedoms we enjoy today.”

Premier David Burt, who laid a wreath on behalf of the Government, added: “This is tradition – when you have traditions, you have to consider them.

“It’s an important part of Bermuda’s history and something which we will continue to commemorate.”

Canon Thomas Nisbett, a Second World War soldier in the Bermuda Militia Infantry, which guarded the island against enemy threats, said: “The ceremony was very well done.”

The 93-year-old retired Anglican priest, who paraded with other veterans, added: “It was beautiful – there are not many veterans left and it was nice to hear the applause as we marched off.”

Isobel Flood, also 93, served with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War, said: “Our uniformed services did very well – and I’m still standing up as well.”

Remembrance Day Parade on Front Street

Ms Flood, from Pembroke, added: “It’s very important that we keep commemorating these events – like they say, ‘Lest we forget’.”

RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel David Curley said: “This is one ceremony and parade that we are really honoured to do.

“That’s because it’s for the veterans – to see them out on parade is awesome and to be able to mingle with them at the lunch afterwards is first class.

“Without them and their service to their countries and doing what they did in both world wars, we wouldn’t have the world we have today.”

Col. Curley added: “I was very proud of our troops – it was an outstanding performance and they understand the values and traditions behind it.

“They felt privileged to be here today and we are honoured to have inherited the veterans’ ideals of service, commitment and honour and carried them through to the modern RBR we have today.”

Photos of the Remembrance Day parade


Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Raynor, a former Commanding Officer of the RBR and its Honorary Colonel, said after the beacon was lit: “Today we celebrate the end of the First World War 100 years ago – but will we ever celebrate the end of war?”

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